As an Irishman resident in England for 45 years may I make one or two disloyal comments about our national character, evidence for which can be observed up and down this England in church on any Sunday?
Trish clergy rarely have any awareness of dignity or sense of "occasion" in celebrating the Liturgy. They arc heedless of starting on time, gabble the language as a routine that must he got through, and seem to ignore the beauty of it all as if it were an embarrassment. Sermons and homilies are too often delivered as to a semi-literate and simple-minded congregation of delinquent children.
With rare notable exceptions the Irish are also a most inartistic lot, showing a_ naive banality in choice of church decoration and even pride in their unmusicality. They have little idea of selecting Mass, motet or hymn, and still less notion of its place. I have even heard a loud spoken Offertory starting over the last few bars of a sublime piece of Palestrina. As for the vocal ability of most Irish clergy one can only say "No comment." Standards in these things are not high in the "Old 'Country"; they are thus thrown into relief over here.
In our favour, we Irish do have a sense of humour, doubtless developed as a safety valve for the more sensitive. But, Oh dear!
P. Magee 28 Halley Street, London, E.14..